PCCA - Plains Cotton Cooperative Association Logo PCCA Commentator Magazine Masthead. Vol. 47, No. 3 | Summer 2017

Local Co-ops Make a Difference

From supporting their grower-owners to local schools, cooperatives across PCCA’s service area work tirelessly to better their communities. Support is defined as the act of bearing all or part of the weight or giving, and in agriculture, is what makes everything come together. In their contributions, whether timely or monetarily, cooperatives give back to their communities as their communities give to them. In doing so, the testament of “strength in numbers” is revealed.

True cooperatives follow seven principles:

  • Open and Voluntary Membership
  • Member Controlled
  • Economic Participation and Ownership
  • Autonomy and Independence
  • Education, Training and Information
  • Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  • Concern for Community

The last principle, though not the least, is where the support found in rural communities stems from, no matter their size. Where agriculture is found, strength and support for the community are present too. The land of cotton and cooperatives harbors individuals keen on keeping each other afloat in good times and bad.

Cooperative gins are no exception to this rule as each is made up of individuals who care about the community and its success. Larry Black, Central Rolling Plains Cooperative Gin Manager, said there is more than one reason co-op gins give back.

“We give back to the community because we are interested in our producers not only from a production standpoint, but also from a family standpoint because the producers are our family,” Black said.

Producers’ families often extend beyond blood relations which is another aspect of the cooperative system that provides support to all within it. Rex Ford, Manager of Farmers Co-op Gin of Stamford said another benefit of community engagement is aiding future generations to do the same.

“I believe in it and have always done it,” Ford said. “The youth are our future and I think it is money well spent.”

Support also can come about when individuals are simply members of the community doing what they do best, Meadow Farmers Co-op Manager Dan Jackson said.

“If you are going to be involved in the community, you need to support it,” Jackson said. “One thing I am proud of is that we support the school and we support the kids. If you are going to have a business in the community you have to support the town.”

Concern for the community is not only a guiding cooperative principle, it is a key aspect of the foundation of the cotton industry. When one community is supported by its members, that support then can be transferred to other communities across the state and nation. It is through this example that “united we stand, divided we fall” rings true.

The following cooperative gins support their communities in the areas listed below.

Mereta Co-op Gin Co

  • Booster Club
  • Local sports programs
  • Church
  • School agriculture department
  • Donations

Central Rolling Plains Cooperative

  • Local sports programs
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Local stock shows
  • School agriculture department
  • Donations

Lone Star Ag

Gin manager Lloyd Seely currently serves as a firefighter in the Brownfield community. Even after moving to Texas from Colorado and becoming a gin manager, Seely kept his previous occupation as a firefighter. Seely said having this background knowledge comes in handy when accidents happen.

“I just wanted to give back to the community,” he said. “When someone has an accident or a house catches on fire, it is pretty important that someone be there to help. That is kind of my thing, to help other people.”

Liberty Co-op Gin

  • $1,000 Liberty Co-op Scholarship to dependents of customers or landlords
  • Local FFA programs
  • Local stock shows
  • School sports programs

Texas Star Co-op Gin

  • School donations
  • Local sports programs
  • Local stock shows
  • Donations

Farmers Co-op Gin of Stamford

  • School donations
  • Local sports programs
  • Local FFA chapter
  • Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Board
  • Donations

Meadow Farmers Co-op Gin

  • Scholarships: $500
    and $3,000 Don Carroll Leadership Award per year to select Meadow High School seniors
  • Local sports programs
  • Other school activities
  • Booster Club
  • School agriculture department
  • Stock shows
  • Donations

Mereta Co-op Gin Co.

  • Booster Club
  • Local sports programs
  • Church
  • School agriculture department
  • Donations

Miles Cooperative Gin Co.

  • Fun Runs (Color Run, Mud Run, etc.)
  • Prom
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Sports Programs
  • Donations

Southwest Cotton Growers

  • Local stock shows
  • Youth sports camps
  • School fundraisers
  • R.J. Rowden Scholarship
  • Community cleanup projects

Lakeview Farmers Co-op

  • Stock shows
  • Local sports programs
  • Other school activities
  • Volunteer time
  • City labor assistance
  • Fire Department
  • Donations

If your gin gives back to the community, contact the PCCA Communications Department to share your story.